We aim to inspire girls with a lifelong love of history, to equip them with a wide range of intellectual skills and to give them a greater understanding of the world around them. We make the subject as exciting as we possibly can with a wide range of techniques - making use of music, video, images, debate and role-play – whilst building up essay skills right from the start. From the study of History, girls can develop key skills much valued by universities and employers, such as the ability to research independently, evaluate evidence and argue a case.
Year 7-9 History
The history curriculum at St Gabriel's is designed provide students with an understanding of British history, to deepen their understanding of the present through active engagement with the past. Lessons are interesting and enjoyable with girls discovering some of the most important and exciting stories from our nation's history, challenging familiar narratives and opening up new worlds and cultures through a number of world history topics. In Year 7, they learn some delightfully gory facts about the Black Death and develop an insight into the hard lives of medieval peasants, while researching a number of the more colourful medieval kings and learning how to evaluate their reigns; including King John as well as Mansa Musa and Jadwiga (Hedwig) of Poland. We consider the origin of 'Englishness' whilst exploring influences on the development of our nation pre-1066 and investigating the silk roads and crusades for good measure!
In Year 8 the course opens with a study of the 'Age of Revolution', drawing comparisons between the English Civil War, American Revolution and French Revolution. What follows is an investigation into African empires before slavery and the international slave trade, exploring Britain's role within the triangular trade network and assessing the legacy of slavery within Britain. Debates on the merits of historical figures such as Bloody Mary and Oliver Cromwell can get very heated as well as introducing contemporary debates surrounding issues such as ' Should we return the Benin Bronzes' and the British Empire.
In Year 9, we go beyond the UK and look at the pros and cons of the British Empire, before plunging into the horrors of WW1 and WW2. The topics are very exciting and guaranteed to grab the girls’ interest.
Throughout the course we build up the girls’ essay skills, so that they can answer a question in a focused and analytical way. Girls will be ready to embark upon the GCSE course with the ability to weigh up evidence and argue a case.
Challenge & Extension: Pupils are constantly challenged to improve their essay writing skills and vocabulary and are encouraged to read widely. A cross-curricular trip with the Classics Department to Corinium supports Year 7's study of the Romans in Britain. A visit to the Black Country Museum enriches Year 9's inquiry into the effects of the Industrial Revolution.
There is also a General Knowledge History Challenge open to all, covering a different century each term. In addition, there are a number of lunchtime talks on topics that do not fall within the curriculum – recent examples include the Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of Agincourt.
Year 10-11 History GCSE
Lessons are lively and exciting, with plenty of opportunity for debate. Following the Edexcel course, pupils gain a good insight into early modern and 20th century history, considering big questions like how Hitler kept control of Nazi Germany, how effectively Henry VIII managed his ministers, how medicine changed through time (gory but good!) and what events led to the nerve-shredding Cuban Missile Crisis.
Girls will finish the course with the ability to weigh up evidence, argue a case and write in a clear and organised way, all highly transferrable skills.
Challenge and extension: The most able pupils are constantly challenged to improve their essay writing skills and vocabulary and encouraged to read widely. There is also a General Knowledge History Challenge open to all pupils, looking at a different century each term. In addition, there are a number of lunchtime talks on topics that do not fall within the curriculum – recent examples include the Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of Agincourt.
In 2018 students have had the opportunity to see Anne Frank's House and the Resistance Museum as part of a half term trip to Amsterdam and a weekend visit to the WW1 Battlefields at Ypres.